22 Nov – 17 Dec 2016
Rare Collection sees Australian jeweller Julie Blyfield respond to the 1861 book of plant illustrations Wild flowers of South Australia made by Fanny De Mole in 1861 in Adelaide, South Australia. It was the first book to illustrate the flora of South Australia, the old volume contains 20 plates and illustrates 38 different flowering plants from South Australia. Each of the delicate, hand coloured prints is accompanied by a name plate with a description of the plant species with the botanical / common names. It is believed that in the mid 1800’s Fanny’s plant illustrations were sent to England where they were made into Lithographs and returned to Adelaide for hand-colouring with assistance from her family and friends. Fanny tragically died of Tuberculosis at the age of 31 in 1866.
Employing traditional metalsmithing techniques Blyfield utilises De Mole’s palate and form as inspiration, creating a body of work that references the rich and delicate texture of the Australia landscape and celebrates the simple beauty of De Mole’s illustrations.
Rare Collection is generously generously supported by Arts South Australia and Robyn Barker, the Botanist from the State Herbarium of South Australia.
Julie Blyfield has worked for 29 years at her practice and was previously a partner at Gray Street Workshop (1987-2009) and in 2010 she established her own independent studio overlooking her garden environment. In 2007 she was a recipient of the prestigious South Australian Living Artist Award which celebrated her achievements with a major Monograph about her life and work, published by Wakefield Press. Julie’s jewellery and metal work is held in national and international museum collections including the National Gallery of Australia in Canberra; the Musée des Arts Decoratifs in Paris, France; the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, United Kingdom. As part of her practice she regularly mentors emerging jewellers sharing her knowledge, skills and professional experience. She has lectured and presented workshops in Australia, United States of America and in the United Kingdom. In 2011 she was Overall Winner of the South Australian Museum Natural History Art Prize when her work was acquired for the South Australian Museum collection.
Photography: Grant Hancock, 2016